SA data prices must be reduced - Competition Commission

The commission has recommended that service providers must reduce the prices in two months or face court action.

Competition Commission chair Tembinkosi Bonakele. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG - The Competition Commission has recommended service providers reduce the price of data or face prosecution.

The commission presented its data service market inquiry’s final report on Monday afternoon.

It found data prices are excessive in South Africa and the market is highly dominated by Vodacom and MTN.

Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said: “We believe that an appropriate regulation is reasonable. How this will be achieved will be explained as we give more details on this report.”

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said the government would act.

“It was clear, according to the findings, that we have a competition problem in the market and that prices are higher than they should be compared to elsewhere in the world.”

MTN and Vodacom could face prosecution if they do not agree with the Competition Commission to reduce the price of data in the next two months. Bonakele said the two companies should immediately lower prices by around 50%.

The commission also recommended that the government must introduce regulations to combat excessive data pricing in the country.

“We believe on the basis of evidence that there is scope for reduction of prices between 30% and 50%. The failure of reduction within two months will lead to prosecution for excessive pricing,” said Bonakele.

Data Market Inquiry Summary by Janice Healing on Scribd